Costa Rica’s national soccer team will play in Tehran, despite pleas by Jewish groups.
Costa Rica and Iran will square off Jan. 30, the Costa Rican Football Federation announced late Friday. It marks the second time the two will meet in Tehran in less than two years.
Both teams lost in the first round of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and will use January’s game to prepare for early qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
In March 2006, the Costa Rican Football Federation ignored pleas from Jewish groups to scrap its game at Iran, which was facing an informal boycott from other teams in the World Cup amid international pressure to isolate the country.
Costa Rica lost, 3-2, in a half-empty Azadi Stadium, and reportedly received more than $100,000 plus expenses for the trip.
In a statement, the Costa Rican federation said the game in Iran was part of its “objective to provide the team with all the warm-up games necessary ahead of qualifying for South Africa 2010.”
Costa Rica does not have diplomatic relations with Iran.